Posts Tagged ‘Connecticut’

A basket made by the Connecticut Paugussett artist Molly Hatchett. (Courtesy of the Hartford Advocate)

By Gregory B. Hladky, of the Hartford Advocate:

About two centuries ago, a Connecticut Paugussett woman wove a beautiful basket out of wood splints using the traditional method of local Native peoples. The basket was sold to a farm family, traveled to Ohio, eventually returned to this state and now rests in a museum here.

It’s extraordinary for having survived. It’s even more extraordinary because we know exactly who made it.

Museums across the world are now engaged in a phenomenally difficult effort to match individual names to pieces of American Indian art, to recognize their creators as artists rather than simply labeling these works as generic “artifacts” from a particular tribe or era.

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A formation in the Hammonasset line. (Bettina Hansen, Hartford Courant)

A formation in the Hammonasset line. (Bettina Hansen, Hartford Courant)

A retired Wisconsin engineer believes a chain of manmade rock formations, which align during the solstices to pour intricate designs of the sun’s rays onto surrounding landscapes, are tied to the history and traditions of Native Americans there.

As the Hartford Courant reports, Tom Paul has been walking the area where the formations run for years. He thinks the ties to tribes native to the area are strong, dating back thousands of years.

A representative from the New England Antiquities Research Association said he thinks Paul’s conclusions to the connection to Native American groups could be correct.

Now, Paul wants to find out more about the formations. Who, what, when, why and where they were created.

    Paul believes the solar alignment runs from a Native American council rock on Long Island, across the Sound, through Madison and Killingworth, northwest through Waterbury and the Berkshires into the Catskills. He said he thinks many of the stone formations date back thousands of years and were constructed by Native Americans to mark the sunrise of winter solstice – when the Earth is farthest from the sun — and the sunset of summer solstice, when the Earth is closest to the sun.

    Glenn Kreisberg, vice president of the New England Antiquities Research Association, said he finds “some validity” in the concept that Native Americans built stone constructions that align with one another and with events in the sky and on the horizon. The association studies and preserves New England’s stone sites as a way to better understand the historic and prehistoric past.

View a slideshow of the Hammonasset Line.

Jenna Cederberg

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Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)

Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)

Quilting project honors Native children who died in boarding schools
Jamestown, N.D., resident Ellen Pfeiffer first learned about Indian boarding schools from her former husband, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe whose grandmother was taken from her family and sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. She found the story heartbreaking, and began to study the era. Barbara Landis, Carlisle Indian School biographer, reports that nearly 10,000 Indian children went to Carlisle in its 40-year-history. Of those, nearly 200 children died, most of them of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Pfeiffer believes the schools, whose purpose was to assimilate Indian children, did a disservice to Native Americans. Now she’s making quilts to honor the children who died so far from their families. The project involves 186 quilts, according to this Jamestown Sun story distributed by the Associated Press.

Connecticut tribes blast state’s plan to add keno games
Connecticut is looking at adding keno games to help close a $1.3 billion budget shortfall. But tribal casinos – which already offer it – are crying foul, saying it could cut into their profits, Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here. Jackson King, general counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, says that if the state launches keno, the tribes could stop making payments to the state based on their own earnings, because of a violation of the compact.

Navajo Nation plans five casinos within two years
Despite a drop in gaming revenues around the country, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise says it has secured the funding for five news casinos, and plans to build them within the next two years, according to the Navajo Times. Investment Committee members say gaming looks like more secure route than the stock market these days.

Seneca Nation stops effort to ban mail-order smokes in New York
The New York Times has this story on how the Seneca Nation turned around a bill designed to halt the shipment of mail-order cigarettes. The bill was approved by the New York House of Representatives and a Senate committee, before the Seneca Nation, which sees more than $1 billion annually in gambling and cigarette revenues, launched a full-scale lobbying effort to stop it.

Nunavut to substantially cut polar bear harvest quota; hunters object
Over the next four years, the annual hunting quota for Baffin Bay polar bears will gradually be reduced from 105 to 65, according to the Nunatsiaq News. Biologists are worried the bears are being overhunted, and Greenland has already reduced its quotas. But some hunters are demanding compensation for their communities.

Salish Kootenai College honors lifelong Salish language teacher Sophie Mays

Last month, family and friends on the Flathead Indian Reservation gathered at Salish Kootenai College to dedicate Sophie’s Room. It honors Sophie “Supi” Quequesah Mays died last year at the age of 56, the Char-Koosta News reports. Mays, who grew up with parents who spoke only Salish, dedicated her life to preserving the Salish language. She was the first Salish teacher when the college was founded.

Gwen Florio

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